Let's get some Boba, I mean Bulb Outs
You may have seen some of our new safety features going in around the city. The latest, a bulb out, went in at 9th Avenue and Pacheco Street. Traffic bulb outs, also known as curb extensions, align the curb with the parking lane to increase the visibility of people on the sidewalk and reduce the distance to cross the street.
What Do Bulb Outs Do?
- Increase visibility of people on sidewalks: By extending the sidewalk further into the street we have increased the visibility of people on the sidewalk and crosswalk.
- Decrease crossing distances: Bulb outs reduce the distance needed to cross, which creates more time for signal changes that prioritize people walking. Along with traffic signal timing that gives people walking a head start.
- Provide more shared public space: More room on the sidewalk allows more room for neighborhood amenities like benches, drinking fountains, bike parking, trees and rain gardens — all great ways to beautify the neighborhood.
- Improve bus travel times: Extending the curb aligns the bus stop with the parking lane and allows buses to stop and board passengers without leaving the travel lane. This helps buses move faster by decreasing the amount of time lost when merging in and out of traffic.
- Bulb outs slow down traffic. Curb extensions decrease the width of streets and can serve as a visual cue for people who drive that they are entering a neighborhood street or area. This helps people at the wheel slow down and become more aware of their surroundings, especially when turning.
If you spot a new bulb out around the city, be sure to share a picture with us at @SFMTA_Muni. More are in the works with street improvement projects like Geary Rapid Project and the Polk Streetscape Project.